We released a new trailer for The Missing Few- this one showing off some of the gameplay from the title. In addition to my responsibilities at the university, I'm also the lead 3D artist on this project on the side. Check it out:
Tales from Aquis has been going well this last week or so. I started writing it in 2012, though the vast majority of the current manuscript was written from 2015-17; mostly during the gap between finishing Escalion and when the weekly Civilization Battle Royale chapters began to consume all my time, despite best intentions. With that project complete, I've had a little bit more time to revisit this.
Most of the work over the last few weeks has been going back over the 2017 manuscript, editing and reworking it, and now of course getting down to write the last third of the book. Of late I've been focusing on writing, somewhere in the region of 500 to 1000 words a day. Considering I have a full time job at the university, an academic paper and a video game project on the go, that's more than respectable. With luck, I want to try and get the first complete draft in place before the end of the year, but we will see how it goes.
This week, I narrated episode 20 of the Civilization Battle Royale X. For those not in with the lingo, this is the current Civilization Battle Royale simulation, which started a new game earlier in the year. Each week the creators upload a series of screenshots with narration by a guest, as well as a YouTube version. It's a different narrator every week, prior notables including Ed Beach, lead designer of Civilization VI. This week it was me, for episode 20 of the first season of CBRX. It might not make a hell of a lot of sense without seeing episodes 1-19, but it's available on the site as well as on YouTube.
Whew. With Civilization Battle Royale complete, my focus once again turns to existing long terms projects, notably Tales from Aquis. I'm doing another proofread of the manuscript at the moment, and will be starting to write new material for it before long. I'm aware that I've been working on it on-and-off since about 2012, with it falling by the wayside whenever a new shiny project comes along- but in the grand scheme of things it's not all that far off being done.
My aim going forwards is to complete the remainder of Aquis, along with the other remaining long term projects I have in various stages of completion: a VR paper, Dutch and Japanese language work, ArrowJump and of course the final completion of the Dragon Creek series. In terms of long projects, Dragon Creek takes the cake, seeing as Children of the Crater first started appearing on the page in about 2009. I do eventually finish these things, but they take time- and here's to cleaning the slate as we move into the 2020s!
The seasons roll ever onwards, and I'm back at university once again. I started studying my Masters, as well as lecturing, and things are looking bright. I also started work on another academic paper, this time a VR focused one.
A new trailer is up for The Missing Few! The game has come on leaps and bounds since we did our last one, and it's been such a fun project to work on.
It is indeed true, the final version of the Civilization novel is complete. The original book was written in the form of weekly released chapters, which did lend itself to some issues, but with this final proof read and edit the book is now finally complete. The edited copy contains the following changes:
-Chapter artwork for each era. There are also some super cute little Babylonian lions used to separate subsections, which were previously just a centre-aligned dash.
-General editing, tweaks to improve the flow of language, etc. A few slight expansions here and there, often a few sentences to round out scenes that were a little short. This also includes consistency for some terms, such as the old “hoverbike, hover-bike, hover bike” problem.
-Formatting, including the addition of chapter banners and adjustment of margins, removal of unneeded double spaces, and general consistency throughout. There are more words per page with the adjustments.
-Some names adjusted to include the proper accents and so forth, such as “Māori”.
It's something I had been working on throughout the summer, now that I have had some time to myself. What's next for me? Tales from Aquis needs some love- I'll also be starting my Masters in Visual Communication (art) in a month, which I am rather looking forward to.
So, until next time, folks! Enjoy the novel!
Hey there folks. I had my second graduation ceremony this week, with my postgraduate certificate in education now under my belt. I'm going to be continuing to study alongside my work at the university of course, going straight from here into a Masters, potentially with a PHD to follow that?
With the arrival of summer, I have some free time on my hands at long last, time for family visits and such. I'm using some of that time to complete the long overdue proofread of the Civilization Battle Royale novel. I'm around two thirds of the way through right now, and definitely want to complete it this summer. For those who are interested, the community launched their new game last month, so a fresh battle is well underway.
Until next time!
Hi there folks. The D&D campaign continues- I ran a story in which my players searched for the Vault of Galder, where a wizard had hidden relics confiscated from the villains of a century before. It was mostly composed of traps from Tales from the Yawning Portal, with some SCP-esque items within. The party met Kwalish at the end of the Lost Laboratory quest, and he had reluctantly given them the location. They were seeking The Mind Chalice, an item of terrible power, with the goal of restoring the memories of a friendly NPC, lost in a previous arc. Just inside the vault is a small study area:
This is likely the last time I will be able to come here. For those who may uncover this place in the long centuries from now- this is my vault, filled with… enigmatic, anomalous items I discovered during my travels. Some were wielded by powerful, evil men, some others were simply passing from hand to hand, bringing misfortune and death as they went. This vault contains those I was unable to destroy, which unfortunately is a great many. Some in the deeper sections of the vault are terrible beyond imagination.
Future traveller, I beg of you: If you have discovered this vault by accident, turn and leave. The access shaft will carry you up to the surface, and you can go on with your life. If by chance you sought this place out, and have the capability to do so, I ask that you destroy the items that I could not. The items are heavily defended, to protect the items from those who would use them- but I trust that if you are a learned and skilled individual capable of destroying them, then you will be able to break through. To those who would use these items, I plead for you to turn around. No good can come of what is contained within these walls.
From one age to another,
After arguing over the warning- the party intended to use one of the items after all- they made the decision to descend deeper into the vault, guided by a torn fragment of a manifest. Traversing the third floor, a party member almost died to a heated metal trap- but they continued. Inside the final chamber was a safe containing the chalice, with a sheet of paper resting atop it. In true SCP fashion:
Item #-: GCP5000
Object Class: Euclid
Galder's Containment Procedures: GCP-5000 is to be stored in a standard 1m lead lined container.
Description: GCP-5000 is a large chalice of approximately 40cm in height, composed of an unknown cuprate alloy which appears to be weakly radioactive. Despite constant low level emission of alpha particles, the mass of GCP-5000 has remained unchanged at 8kg during a ten year period of observation. The hemispherical bowl has a volume of 5.1 litres, and is studded with intricately worked red gems of unknown composition. The item has proved indestructible to both mundane and magical means, including blunt force trauma, compression, high temperatures, extreme gravity, acids and magical disintegration.
GCP-5000 has the capability to create, destroy or restore memories of a target, of any magnitude ranging from small adjustments to entire identities. In order to be used in this manner, a blood sacrifice must be performed, with GCP-5000 to be filled with at least 4.7 litres of human blood, and the death of the sacrifice. After each use, the blood is drained from the basin inexplicably.
Recovery: GCP-5000 was discovered on Viacury during a visit to the town of Lonedeep. It became clear that a number of the residents of the town were missing, as numerous buildings were unoccupied, but the locals indicated that the town had simply always been that way. Close inspection resulted in the discovery of business ledgers in abandoned stores, family photographs and even journal entries by those who lived there, referring to or picturing missing individuals- however the locals became agitated when this evidence was raised, accusing the party of producing forgeries to scare them. The party discovered that the catacombs below the local chapel contained a vast number of corpses drained of blood, and a bizarre legion of mesmerized people acting as slaves to “the goblet prince”, a man bearing GCP-5000. He had used the goblet to dominate a total of 85 people, erasing former identities and forcing them to construct a palatial residence for him beneath the town. He had established a hierarchy among them of courtesans, guards and servants. The party was able to subdue the individual and his guards, and was also able to question him on the nature of GCP-5000.
He claimed to have no knowledge of its origins, only that he had found it in the crypts the previous spring, and that it had whispered instructions to him, telling him that he was the last of a forgotten royal bloodline and that by using the goblet he could reclaim his throne. He murdered 89 people in the town to feed GCP-5000 and dominate the residents, mostly with the assistance of those he already controlled. In questioning, he admitted that this included 85 successful sacrifices, plus four who did not meet requirements including a child, a half-orc and two halflings. He reported on his own extensive experimentation with GCP-5000, determining the 4.7l volume requirement as well as the need for the victim to be a human, and for them to die during the ritual.
The party ultimately confiscated GCP-5000, killed the Goblet Prince and organised a re-introduction process for those separated from their families. Those killed as sacrifices did not respond to true resurrection spells, and it is surmised that their soul is consumed or destroyed during the ritual.
They read Galder's Containment Procedures, determined that the object was nightmare fuel, and backed the hell out of there. It would do what they wanted, but the price of using it was far too high. They reset what traps they could, added their own to the mix, and got the first ship back to town.
Even returning empty handed, the players loved the game. Only when they read the description of the item did they realise all of the red flags they had been ignoring over the past seven sessions- and it seeded them with hooks for some alternative solutions.
Art by one of my players, Yazzart
Our D&D game continues. I’ve woven the official adventure The Lost Laboratory of Kwalish into the next arc, which has them retracing a historical expedition into the Barrier Peaks. I’ve modified the story to fit with the existing world, and that has resulted in some interesting shenanigans.
Last session, the group were exploring an area despite rumours of some sort of creature that can turn you to glass if you look at it. The group proceeded blindfolded, relying on the verbal guidance of Gearbox, a little drone that is along with them. Of course, they got attacked by an Ooze during their travels- which they had to then fight blind, with only the high-pitched terrified voice of Gearbox going “No, no it’s over there! On your left!” It was really quite entertaining.
Whoa. The entirety of the book, all 146,000 words of it, is now available on the site for free and always will be.
This update also contains the acknowledgements section, just as a way of thanking the many people without whom this book would not have been possible. It’s been an incredible journey writing this.
A quick reminder of our road map from here: I plan on doing a proof-read of the book from start to finish, along with consistency editing (hoverbike, hover bike or hover-bike?) to give the text that final layer of polish. I have been doing some of that as we have been going, but taking a step back and going from the top down is always important. As part of this final polish, I also plan on adding a set of small illustrated banners into chapter title pages, indicating what approximate era we are in.
It’s been one hell of a ride, and I think I’ve become a better writer somewhere along the journey. Until next time, seeya!
Progress on future books
Tales from Aquis (58%)
Dragon Creek #3 (1%)